Updated! Welcome to the Working Part of the Holiday Season

Three for you, ahead of the workweek:

  • In tomorrow’s paper, the Financial Times--In 'CMBS issuance at highest since before the crisis"--reports that refinancings taking advantage of low rates have driven the issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities to nearly $93 billion worldwide in 2013, up from $48.7 billion in same 2012 period in 2012. The near-doubling is the highest level since pre-crash 2007. The U.S. rise is the most profound, to $84.4 billion this year from $2.2 billion in the same 2009 period. And:  the level of risk is rising strongly too.  The article can be found here, with registration.
  • Over the weekend, the Tennessean spelled out the problems with the deal between Jones Lang Lasalle and the Tennessee state government of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who holds a piece of his sizable portfolio in JLL. Columnist Gail Kerr traces how JLL’s $1 million consulting contract has grown to $38 million, principally in moving state agencies that JLL has recommended for such modernizing moves.  An audit by the state comptroller—also a Republican--blasted the arrangement but found no illegality. The Haslam appointee who oversees Tennessee office administration "is pretty much blowing off the audit," the column says. And now, a Nashville moving company has filed suit for $300,000 against the state and JLL alleging favoritism in the execution of the moves' contractual outflow.   
  • And ICYMI it on the cover of today’s New York Times Business section, check out the story of the Florida couple the article says "never borrowed money to buy the six warehouses and eight homes that, by 2006, had a value of around $15 million and made up the bulk of their assets." A confidant who forged mortgages in the elderly couple’s name is the monster here, but this is the story of the title insurance company, and how title insurance works.  Or doesn't work.  This company, after settling three of the forgeries with the couple, has filed suit after contradictory lawsuit in order to avoid paying the money it owes under its title policies to the banks that made the loans in the wake of the forgeries.  And most of the suits are targeted at the husband and wife.  See Gretchen Morgenson’s Fair Game column, “A Trusting Couple, Now Thrown for Two Loops.”  
  • DTZ is going to compete harder with New York commercial real estate brokerage natives in its local office:  It's looking to expand, and it told the Wall Street Journal it is paying signing bonuses that are up to 75% of what the brokers have averaged over the previous three years.  "In other words," the WSJ says, "if a broker's share of the commissions they've generated has been an average of $1 million a year, the bonus would be $750,000." You can find the article here, subscription required.
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